EJ Montini: Arizona’s universal school voucher scam is 10 times worse than we thought
EJ Montini, a regular columnist at the Arizona Republic, explains how Arizona’s universal voucher system is an even bigger scam than many realize.
First, some history:
Voters didn’t fall for the Big Lie about universal school vouchers back in 2018.
The proposal was sold as a way of providing a leg up for the disadvantaged when, in fact, it is a handout for the rich.
Voters saw through the scam.
Nearly 1.5 million Arizonans, 65% of the vote, defeated the expansion.
However, that didn’t stop former Gov. Doug Ducey and the Republican-controlled Legislature from ignoring the will of the people and passing legislation offering so-called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts to any student.
But it will help out poor families, right?
Families with limited means will find out that the voucher money won’t get their kids into elite schools and might only afford them the opportunity to have their children suffer an educational setback by enrolling in a school with no oversight, no transparency and no rigid academic standards.
Meantime, families who already have their kids in private schools will have a big chunk of their children’s tuition paid for by working class families with students in struggling public schools.
But it won’t cost taxpayers all that much, right?
The latest Joint Legislative Budget Committee projection has the universal voucher program expanding to 52,500 students by June 2024 and hitting up taxpayers for a whopping $376 million.
In the first year.
It’s a very good start … toward bankrupting the state.
Both monetarily and educationally.
The taxpayer dollars we’re handing out will go to private operations that get to pick and choose their students. They’ll go to home-schoolers who may or may not have any idea what they’re doing. They’ll go to schools that don’t have to produce public information on teacher credentials, or show progress on test scores, or keep anything close to the financial records required of regular public schools.
No transparency. No accountability.